/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » mrs. joe leaphorn? – a look at intuition

Mark & I have been reading Tony Hillerman’s novels for about eight weeks now.  Hillerman writes mysteries based in AZ and NM with the primary characters Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, both Navajos and both serving on the Navajo Tribal Police force.  The books are well-written, if not well-edited (there are weird editing mistakes that have made it to print in nearly every book), and we’re enjoying the stories greatly.

Leaphorn is affectionately called The Legendary Lieutenant and Chee is learning from him, but one of the things that sets Leaphorn apart from other NTP officials is that he looks for “connections.”  He keeps a map about and marks off different crimes on the reservation(s) and scours his mind and the known history of the places, people, and clans to see if the crimes are connected.  Most of the time they are, which makes it fascinating to read and see if I can connect the dots before the end of the book.

Mark & I were talking last night and I made a comment about the “connectedness” of past events.  He raised an eyebrow and said, “Alright, Mrs. Leaphorn,” with a smile.  All kidding aside, I really do see much merit in the Navajo concept of “connectedness,” and I think it’s at the base of a major part of me.

No, I’m not Navajo – I’m English & German, mostly.  A smidge of Hungarian and some untraceable roots in the hills of Tennessee get mixed in, but predominantly, my family hails from Britain and Germany.  I’m not striving to be something I’m not, either – I don’t have Navajo-envy in any way.  But because I believe that all truth is God’s truth, it doesn’t matter to me where I find that truth.  I recognize the truth for what it is, absorb it, and move on.

One thing I am, regardless of my heritage, is intuitive.  As in “my intuition is almost NEVER wrong”-intuitive.  I can’t tell you why I know things, I just know them.  I’ve long suspected that my brain picks up on things around me that aren’t otherwise “sense-able” – that can’t be observed by sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching.  Some people call it ESP (extra-sensory-perception), but I think that’s hokey.  ESP has been part of levitation and other weirdness in metaphysical religious ceremonies – that’s not what I’m talking about.

Malcom Gladwell wrote a book about this entitled Blink – he never once used the word “intuition,” but wrote about rapid cognition – thoughts and observations that happen at the speed of blinking and lead us to a series of decisions/judgments.  It was a fascinating book, but I think it covered only part of what I’m realizing makes up my intuition.

So what does this have to do with Joe Leaphorn and Mark calling me “Mrs. Leaphorn”?

I think part of my intuition is based on connections.  I’m pretty sure it’s the way my brain is hard-wired and there is some applicable truth in Blink for me, as well.  But I really believe the concept of things being related or inner-connected is accurate.  And I think, for whatever reason, I’m wired to pick up on those connections.

The connections are subtle, most of the time, and if you pressed me, I’d not be able to give you exact accounting for what I know to be true.  It’s not always empirical where a+b=c and it can’t always be recreated in a laboratory environment.  But when I know something, I really KNOW something, and sometimes it’s hours, weeks, or months (sometimes years!) later that we find out the reasons why I knew what I knew.  My intuition is always validated and is virtually never wrong.

That doesn’t mean that I always listen to my intuition – I’ve been known to discount it and consider it crazy, because the connection between events/people/places seems so far-fetched to the cognitive mind.  But when I do that, I always regret it and end up back-tracking.  So in recent years, I’ve learned to rely on it more and listen more quietly as I observe.  Mark relies on it heavily as well.

I think it’s fascinating to consider the connectedness of our world, people, places, and events – it shouldn’t surprise us that in a closed system like our planet that this might be the case.  But realizing that my intuitiveness might be picking up on it is like connecting the dots on a puzzle and seeing the outline of the drawing you’ve been working on.

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